At UFC Fight Night 203 this Saturday night, #12 ranked featherweight Sodiq Yusuff, holding a professional record of 11-2, will face newly ranked Alex Caceres, holding a professional record of 19-12.
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Yusuff, formally undefeated inside the UFC with four wins, will look to get back in the win column after losing a tough fight to fellow ranked featherweight, Arnold Allen in his last bout. Meanwhile, Caceres will look to ride his somewhat surprising hot streak of winning his last five UFC fights.
Sodiq Yusuff is a -235 favorite, and this number is climbing quite quickly against the challenger, Alex Caceres.
- Yusuff: -235
- Caceres: +190
Prior to his first defeat as a UFC fighter, Yusuff was on an impressive climb up the featherweight division. During this climb, Yusuff was in close fights but took the victory because he understands how to inflict damage with his impressive power, both in his hands and legs alike. The issue, for me, is that during this time frame, Yusuff relied too much on power in leu of output, thus creating a significant concern of being out-struck by his opponent, and therefore needing to end the fight prior to the judges’ decision.
Interestingly, in his loss to Arnold Allen, I believe the performance Yusuff showcased was his best to date. In this fight, he showed good takedown defense against a strong grappler. Although he did end up giving up a few takedowns during the 3-round affair, he displayed the ability to make a strong grappler work tirelessly for the takedown and showed the ability to get off the mat once taken down. Furthermore, in the loss to Allen, Yusuff displayed his impressive power, primarily in his right hand, and showed the ability to land strong leg kicks, both thrown without anything in front of it and behind the right hand. Lastly, he impressed by being far more active than he was in his previous fights, leaving me extremely excited to back in the future. All in all, his natural power, strong leg kicks, solid takedown defense, and improved output on the feet warrants strong consideration for him challenging for top 5-8 contention in the near future.
Somewhat similarly to Yusuff, Caceres had his best performance in his last bout, but for him, was a second round victory via submission after being knocked down earlier in the fight. The submission-style win is not too surprising given Caceres’ best attribute as a fighter is his slick movement on the mat. Interestingly, although Caceres is quite dangerous with securing a submission victory, he has a tendency of getting submitted himself – 7 of his 12 losses are via submission. This is due to him making ill-advised decisions on the ground given he is willing to put himself in a vulnerable position to create an opportunity for him to finish the fight. The reason why Caceres is willing to do so is he is a below-average striker when analyzed against top 20-25 fighters within the featherweight division. The stats suggest that he has a positive strike differential, but, when Caceres has faced legitimate strikers, he has faltered on the feet. In this fight, Caceres will need to display a far greater ability to combat power on the feet and show the fight IQ of knowing his best path to victory is getting the fight to the mat as quickly as possible.
Prior to Yusuff’s last fight against Arnold Allen, I would be concerned with him being too passive on the feet, thus enabling Caceres to land in output, close the distance, and secure a takedown. But, with the additional data-point of Yusuff’s last bout, I have little to no concern with stating he will win the fight quite easily. The striking disparity on the feet is significant; and in the grappling department, Yusuff will likely be able to combat the shots from Caceres, circle out, and piece him up on the feet. Bluntly stated, Yusuff is a legitimate featherweight with serious fight-ending power contrary to Caceres being far more of a top 25 gatekeeper contrary to a ranked featherweight.
Bet: Sodiq Yusuff by KO